Thousands of people across Los Angeles hail taxicabs for rides across the city every day, expecting to safely arrive at their destinations. However, taxicab drivers are notorious for dangerous driving habits because they earn more by making as many fares as possible in the shortest possible amount of time. This leads to accidents involving taxicabs almost every day across the city, hurting and killing passengers that were entitled to the highest standard of care. At the El Dabe Ritter Law Firm, our Los Angeles taxi accident attorneys understand the pain and suffering our clients suffer after being involved in a taxicab accident and zealously advocate for the compensation our clients deserve.
California Common Carrier Laws
Under California law, a common carrier is defined as any company that transports people or property for a fee, and all forms of transportation can be common carriers including buses, cruise ships, trains, planes, and taxicabs. The law holds common carriers in California to a higher standard of care for their passengers, stating that a common carrier must use the utmost care and diligence when transporting people or property and must exercise a reasonable degree of skill in their transportation. Because common carriers are held to a higher standard of care than other vehicles, it is easier to prove negligence when an accident occurs.
Causes of Taxicab Accidents
There are many causes for taxicab accidents. First, taxi drivers earn more by making more by completing as many fares as possible in the shortest period of time, encouraging dangerous driving habits and speeding to finish the fare. It’s commonplace to see taxis weaving in and out of traffic, turning without signaling, and making unsafe turns. In addition, taxi drivers are distracted by a number of other items while behind the wheel, including their cell phone, GPS, and dispatch radios, all increasing the chances of being involved in an accident on the road.
Common Injuries in a Taxicab Accident
Given the aggressive driving tactics of taxicab drivers and typically older vehicles being used as cabs, the injuries that victims sustain in taxicab accidents are often more serious than the typical car accident on the road in Los Angeles. Common taxicab injuries include the following:
- Head and brain injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Amputation of limbs
- Broken bones
- Burns and lacerations
- Wrongful death
Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney after a taxicab accident allows you to focus on your recovery from these traumatic injuries while your lawyer works on building you the best possible argument for your case.
Compensation for Taxicab Accidents
The victim of a taxicab accident may be entitled to compensation from the taxi driver and potentially from the taxicab company under common carrier laws. Damages after a taxicab accident include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are for physical, out-of-pocket costs caused by the accident. This includes current and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning potential, and property damage. Non-economic damages include compensation for less tangible harms, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability and disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In the unfortunate situation where a taxicab accident causes a loss of life, the family of the victim may also file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and in certain situations, the parent taxi company. Wrongful death compensation includes, on top of other personal injuries damages, funeral costs and compensation for the loss of love, security, consortium, and companionship.
It is important to note that California personal injury accidents operate under a pure comparative negligence standard. Under this doctrine, the court determines the degree of fault for each party involved in the accident and reduces the award by the percentage of fault. For example, if the victim of a taxicab accident was awarded $500,000 in compensation but found ten percent at fault, the total award is $450,000.
What to Do After a Taxicab Accident
Being involved in a taxicab accident can be a painful, scary, and confusing experience. It can be difficult to know what to do immediately after an accident. The most important thing you can do right after a taxicab accident is to seek medical treatment. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you may be suffering from internal injuries that are not immediately recognizable after the accident, and it establishes medical documentation immediately after the accident. This can be incredibly helpful later when building your personal injury case.
If possible, try to document the scene to the best of your ability. Take photos, videos, and gather the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Make sure you get the information of your taxicab driver and company driving you. Call the police, and they will also create a record of the scene by filling out an accident report for the case.
The last thing to do immediately after an accident is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney with a history of successfully representing victims of taxicab accidents. Almost immediately after an accident, the taxi’s insurers will start to build a case against you to limit the amount of compensation offered for your injuries. A lawyer will immediately launch their own investigation into the accident, building the best case possible for you. An attorney also serves as a shield between you and the insurers, serving as the main conduit for all communications and requests. While you focus on achieving maximum medical recovery, a lawyer will negotiate on your behalf for a settlement, and if good terms cannot be made your lawyer will take your case to court.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Now
If you or a loved one has been injured in a taxicab accident, you may have a claim for compensation. Call the office or contact our taxicab accident attorneys in Los Angeles today to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at the El Dabe Ritter Law Firm to schedule a free consultation of your taxicab accident case.